Brazil Potash deposit has 18 years of Brazil's needs -source
* Project holds 500 mln tonnes of potash resource
* A quarter of resource seen as commercially viable
* Up to $1 bln stock sale planned to finance mine
By Sabrina Lorenzi
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 22 (Reuters) - A Brazilian fertilizer deposit owned by Canada's Brazil Potash Corp has potash reserves equal to at least 18 years of Brazil's potassium-fertilizer needs, a source with direct knowledge of the project told Reuters.
The mine project has total potassium reserves of about 500 million tonnes of which at least 125 million, or a quarter, is made up of at least 25 percent potassium chloride, a high-enough grade for commercial production, the source said. He added that the grade estimate was "conservative."
Toronto-based Brazil Potash, whose investors include Canadian merchant bank Forbes & Manhattan as well as Australian investors, hopes to begin production at the site near Autazes, Brazil in the state of Amazonas in 2017 or 2018, according to the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the press.
The Brazil Potash asset is one of several potential potash projects in a 400 kilometer (250 mile) potash belt south of the Amazon river. Brazil's mines and energy ministry believes the region could produce enough potash to eventually make Brazil one of the world's largest producers.
"If we had a plant we could supply the whole country with potash for 100 years," said Daniel Nava, mining secretary of Amazonas state. Continued...